Saturday, August 4, 2018

Destiny (2014) review


    DESTINY is a game which I avoided until now because I had heard a lot of bad things about it. Also, for the very stupid reason that I really-really loved Halo and had an irrational dislike of the game Bungie started working on in place of Halo, which resulted in the Halo franchise completely going to crap.

    Destiny also had a really crappy opening with the fact the story was completely absent. Apparently, they were so worried about screwing up the storyline they just decided not to actually include it. There's an opening where it explains present-day humanity encountered a big city-sized moon that somehow gave us magic powers as well as ushered in a utopian Golden Age.

A decent character creator but nothing great.
    Then it fell apart...somehow. You see, one of the dumbest ideas about this game is that there is apparently a Codex for all of this but it's only available on the Bungie website. I haven't gone to check it out because I felt like there was something fundamentally wrong with this premise. Still, I've picked up the fundamentals from other locations.

    After the Traveler, the big city-sized moon, helped us along with our Golden Age--it turned out his mortal enemy the Darkness came and wrecked our shit. A bunch of other races came with the Darkness' attack like the Fallen (insect-pirates who are what humanity could become), the Hive (zombies who feel like they should switch names with the Fallen), the Cabal (rhino-Marines), and the Vex (evil robots). You, as a Guardian (Jedi with guns), are infused with the Light and have a little Guilty Spark robot who leads you on missions to fight the dudes until you blow up a garden of evil.

Gorgeous graphics but that's to be expected.
    Really, there's not really any actual plot until you play the DLC "House of Wolves" about an evil leader of the Fallen but even then there's no real character development. The actual plot-plot of the game doesn't really begin until The Taken King where you are faced with a villain who wants to avenge his dead son (who I never killed because I couldn't get anyone together for a Raid). That introduced Nathan Fillon's character of Cayde-6, who is one of the few characters in the game with a personality.

    The gameplay is, well, the gameplay is Borderlands. I don't know how I can get around this but this game plays nearly identical to Borderlands. You are running around with a fire team of other players, you shoot lots of things, you loot the things, you increase your loot damage and armor, and everything is about getting higher levels in everything. The thing is, Borderlands is like Arkham Asylum, it's not a problem if the game mechanics are good.

Totally not Borderlands.
    So, it's a weird situation where the game is not really worth playing unless you get The Taken King and then you might as well level up and play it. Then, really, you're missing out a lot of gameplay. It's fun but don't expect anything beyond, "Go to point X and murder people." It's a testament to how gorgeous it is and how much fun Nolan North is as your robot buddy that it's as fun as it is.

    As mentioned, again, the scenery is gorgeous and all of the maps are entertaining. You revisit perhaps more of them than a 500 million dollar game should warrant but I don't have any complaints about them. They're very well designed for a shooting gallery and there's always sufficient cover to regenerate health. If the game had been equipped with a better story, I really would think this was every bit as good as Halo.

The spaceship seems oddly unimportant.
    In fact, it's not so much the story as we don't get to know any of the characters except Ghost and Cayde-6. The game lacks someone to provide a Cortana-esque presence, even though Nolan North does his damndest. I think they should have made a Laura Bailey character and somehow stuck Troy Baker in as well. They're in every other video game together so why not this one?

    Another great element of Destiny is the music. This game has an incredible score. Screw everything else, this is an awesome soundtrack. It's up there with the Lord of the Rings and it's a shame that it doesn't have a game which lives up to the incredible epicness you hear while playing. This belongs to a game which had a plot to live up to its Star Wars-esque potential.

The Queen of the Awoken is a great character that...is wasted.
     Villains-wise, I don't think there's anyone worth talking about save Oryx the Taken King. He's a character who confronts you a couple of times in the DLC and taunts you. We also get to see him devastate the Awoken fleet and other actions so that we take him seriously. He doesn't have much personality but the fact he has any at all is a good thing. This isn't particularly new for Bungie as it's not like the Covenant were dripping with personality (curse you Prophet of Truth!).

    In conclusion, Destiny is an okay game. There's some genuinely good moments and a lot of okay moments with some completely boring ones. It's a game which feels like it was rewritten multiple times (which it was), had no clear vision (which it didn't), and had a lot of disorientation over what the developers wanted from it (which they did). Still, despite its massive spending, it succeeded as a financial investment so Bungie isn't going to take over Halo again any time soon.

8/10

2 comments:

  1. You have to play the Doom quasi reboot from 2016. It is fantastic. The sequel, Doom Eternal, is coming out next year.

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    1. I do actually want to do that. I've been catching up on the video games I've missed, including Starcraft's sequel (which is 8 years old now--great job, Chuck!)

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